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Zionist regime dumps chemical, nuclear waste in West Bank

Saqr, Egypt
5 July 2002


Palestinian Authority's 'minister for the environment'   Yousef Abu Safiyya, has accused (Israel) of  turning the Palestinian Authority- ruled area of the West Bank into a vast dumping-ground for its domestic industrial, chemical and nuclear waste, thereby  creating a potentially catastrophic environmental nightmare. The highly toxic  material is not only from Israel's factories and defense- establishments, but  also from Jewish settlements, whose European and American inhabitants pursue  lifestyles that generate huge amounts of refuse. In press interviews earlier  this month, Dr Abu Safiyya explained that the Israelis save money by hiring  Palestinians to bury the material for a pittance, instead of treating it in  their own facilities at very high cost.

The secret dumping was first  discovered after the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PA),  and although some dumping- grounds have been discovered, the minister said that  there may still more to be found. He claimed that the PA had the equipment to  monitor dumping.

Abu Safiyya  cited discovery of  29 barrels of toxic waste in the Khan Yunis region. An analysis of their contents showed that they are toxic waste from Jewish settlements. The settlers  bribe Palestinians to smuggle the waste into PA areas and dump it. The  destruction of a barrel of toxic waste at Israel's national environmental  facility costs $2,000; smuggling a barrel into Palestinian areas costs only $25  - paid to the Palestinian hired hand, who of course is unaware of the health  risks he is running.

The PA has also discovered  hundreds of barrels in the north of the West Bank over the last two years, an d  are presently talking to Israeli authorities about 223 barrels of toxic waste in  the Janin area which the Israelis refuse to collect. "I met with the Israeli  minister for the environment and asked her to apply the Basil treaty, which is  the relevant international instrument on the movement of toxic material, but she  replied that international treaties do not apply to Palestinians because they  have no state," Abu-Abu Safiyya said.

The Israelis turned down the  request to remove the waste out of hand. "They told us that they could not  receive the barrels because Israeli law bans the movement of toxic material inside Israel except on the approval of top officials," Dr Abu Safiyya explained.

The toxic waste dumped in the  West Bank ranges from the by-products of the Israeli military industry, some of which are radioactive, to chemical substances which are highly damaging to the  environment. Some are so toxic that they are capable of causing cancer on a  massive scale. Thirty cancer-causing  chemicals have so far been  identified, Abu-Abu Safiyya said.

This lethal poisoning of the Palestinian environment comes on top of the fall-out from experiments and tests  at Israel's Diamond nuclear station. Israel, which officially denies having  nuclear weapons, has been known to carry out tests with US finance and  expertise. Palestinians believe that the sporadic earth-tremors experienced in  their areas are caused by the explosion of nuclear devices at Dimona  nuclear  station, and in the desert. In other countries, such tests are carried out in  remote and uninhabited areas, but occupied Palestine is too small for that to be  possible. Clearly, however, the Israelis place far less value on the lives of  Palestinians than of Jews.

The minister also revealed  that the ageing reactors at Diamond are the source of pollutants that are extremely damaging to the environment. Not only are the reactors 30 years old,  but there are also satellite pictures which show that "the protective walls of  the reactors have been eaten into," he said. "And if nuclear substances escape  into the atmosphere as a result of these defects, the Palestinian areas would be  the most vulnerable because we have no protective capabilities," he added.